Deepak Punia, World No 2 and India's wrestling Olympic medal prospect
- Deepak Punia was born on May 19 in Haryana's Jhajjar district
- He got into wrestling at the age of four
- Punia has been trained by two-time Olympic medallist Sushil Kumar
Indian wrestler Deepak Punia beat Zushen Lin of China in the quarterfinals at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics to reach the semi-final of men's freestyle 86kg on Wednesday. En route to the semis, he beat Ekerekeme Agiomor of Nigeria 12-1 in the pre-quarterfinals. He will now face David Morris Taylor III of the United States of America in the semis.
The 22-year-old Haryana wrestler has been one of the most promising sportspersons to have come through the ranks in the past few years. Born in the village of Chhara in Haryana's Jhajjar District on May 19, he got into wrestling at the age of four because his father and grandfather both were professional wrestlers, who would compete at local tournaments (dangals). Following the family tradition, Punia also competed in local tournaments, and won as well.
Who is wrestler Deepak Punia's mentor?
Deepak Punia has been trained by two-time Olympic medallist Sushil Kumar, who is currently lodged in Tihar jail in connection with the assault and murder case. Punia, who took his professional training at Chhatrasal Academy in Delhi, has on several occasions thanked Sushil Kumar for helping him with his training and other necessities such as sponsorship and life guidance. Kumar had reportedly told Punia to focus on wrestling and refuse a job with the Indian Army.
What are Deepak Punia's strengths?
His defence is Deepak Punia's primary strength. His standing defence has been one of his highlights wherein he gets his hands at the opponent's arms and is able to manoeuvre his way to put them down on the mat. The wrestler has, according to the experts, the necessary attributes of flexibility, power, luck, and intelligence to be the assertive force during a competition.
What are his achievements?
Deepak Punia, currently ranked second in the world, has been named the UWW World Junior Freestyle Wrestler of the Year. He ended an 18-year medal gap for India in the Junior Wrestling circuit by bringing home the gold in the World Junior Championships. (86kg category). In the Senior World Championships, he reached the finals and secured an Olympic quota place along with a silver medal for himself.
Punia has so far won a gold and a silver medal at the World Junior Championships, a silver at the World Wrestling Championships in 2019, two bronze medals at the Asian Games, and a Gold at the World Cadet Championships.